MJ Fox Foundation researching possible higher Parkinson’s risk for Jews

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Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 15 April 2016

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The incidence of mutated genes that can develop into Parkinson’s disease in Jews is being researched by The Michael J Fox Foundation.

The biggest genetic indicator of Parkinson’s is 10 times more prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews than in the general population, research has revealed.

A new global study will track how often mutated LRRK2 genes – which are present in 10 per cent of Ashkenazim – develops into the disease. A second mutated gene called GBA was also found to be more common in this ethnic group. A saliva test can show whether a patient has these mutated genes.

Gemma Loebenberg, a specialist at the National Institute of Health Research, which leads this investigation, said: “People who have one of those genes have a 50 per cent chance of passing it to their children.”

She called on Jews with Parkinson’s, or who have relatives with the condition, to volunteer for the study.

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